Written and compiled by George Knowles.
Cochrane (real name Roy Leonard Bowers) was by all counts an impressive, flamboyant, charismatic
yet controversial person whose contribution to the rise of contemporary
witchcraft, was perhaps overshadowed by that of Gerald Gardner.
Cochrane was a practicing
English witch who had founded his own coven the “Clan of Tubal Cain”, at about the same time as Gerald
Gardner started his first coven in the early fifties. As Gardner's coven
formed the base of the Gardnerian tradition, so the Clan of Tubal Cain, after
its import to America, became known as the “1734” tradition.
Cochrane was born into a Methodist family on the 26th January 1931. They lived in London, England, but much of his early life is somewhat obscure based as it is on his own telling. He claimed to be a hereditary witch and at times spoke of a great-grandfather who supposedly practiced witchcraft in Warwickshire, he also referred to an Aunt Lucy who kept an impressive collection of 'Witchy' things in her home. In one of his letters he describes her as a 'terrible old woman'. Another claim was that he had ancestors who had been executed for witchcraft, and at other times a great uncle on his mother’s side who had been his teacher. Then in contradiction to this he claimed his mother had taught him as her grandmother had taught her. Whatever the truth none of the above has yet been proved.
During his teens it is thought that he sought out and found a teacher, most probably from a Druidic or Celtic tradition. What is known for sure is that he studied books, did research and tried the best he could to recreate what he believed to be the Old Religion. By his early twenties he had formed his own coven called the Clan of Tubal Cain (a reference to his work as a blacksmith). This was around the time that the old witchcraft laws in England were being repealed, and about the same time Gerald Gardner started his first coven. Cochrane held Gardner in distain and would frequently express his contempt for the Gardnerian Witches of his time.
His coven always work out doors, sometimes near to his home in London on a council estate in Slough, Berkshire or they would travel to more remote places like into the Mendip Hills situated in Somerset, or to the Brecon Beacons in Wales. There they would don black hooded robes and while dancing and chanting around a fire built in the center of a circle, they would 'call down the power'. They worshiped both the Horned God and the Goddess. God was the goat-foot God of fire, craft and death, while the triple aspects of the Goddess ruled life, fate and destiny. From their union was created the Horned God (also referred to as the young solar deity).
Cochrane was a talented poet and philosopher who loved to write in a cryptic and mystical manner. His coven was based on a combination of Celtic mysticism and village Witchcraft philosophy. He delivered his teachings in the manner of the Druids using poetry, riddles and folksongs as apposed to actual facts. He and his wife Jean successfully combined traditional village Witchcraft (his ritual tools consisted of a cauldron, knife, cord, cup and a stone) and Druidic methods of training and practice with a guided meditation for creating an astral temple as a magickal tower of sanctuary. He inspired research and evolution rather than a strict adherence to dogma, and once stated that: “A driving thirst for knowledge is the forerunner of wisdom”.
In the early sixties Cochrane began to correspond with an American witch called Joe Wilson, who started the tradition in America. The information he wrote in his letters to Wilson, plus articles he wrote for several periodicals of the time: Psychic News - (1963), Pentagram - (1964-66) and New Dimensions - (1965), form the bases of the tradition as it is practiced today.
went by Wilson and several of his American friends worked together to solve
Cochrane’s puzzles and filled in the gaps in his letters.
Wilson gave copies of the letters to a number of other people who in
turn did their own research and found their own answers.
As a result different covens were created, no two exactly alike, and so
began the renamed 1734 Tradition. Today
each coven of the tradition is completely autonomous and there is no central
authority. The tradition has no
common Book of Shadows, but Cochrane’s letters serve the same purpose
and these are passed down from teacher to student in a similar fashion as the Book of
Shadows in other traditions.
The figure 1734 was originally one of
Cochrane’s puzzles. Cochrane
himself described it in a letter to Joe Wilson dated the 12th Night (6th
January) 1966, which reads:
“The order of 1734 is not a date of an event, but a grouping of numerals that mean something to a witch. One that becomes seven states of wisdom is the Goddess of the Cauldron. Three that are the Queens of the Elements, fire belonging to Man alone and the Blacksmith God. Four are Queens of the Wind Gods. The Jewish orthodoxy believe that whomever knows the Holy and Unspeakable name of God has absolute power over the world of form. Very briefly the Name of God spoken as Tetragrammaton ('I amthat I am') breaks down in Hebrew to the letters IHVH, or the Adom Kadomon (The Heavenly Man). Adom Kadomon is a composite of all Archangels - in other words a poetic statement of the names of the Elements. So what the Jew and the Witch believe alike, is that the man who discovers the secret of the Elements controls the physical world. 1734 is the witch way of saying IHVH.”
Cochrane believed that different types of vision contained
the various approaches to and apprehensions of truth: 'Poetic Vision' -
inward access to dream images and symbols; 'Vision of Memory' - remembers
past existences and past perfections; 'Magical Vision' - undertakes part of
a Triad of services and contacts certain levels; 'Religious Vision' -
admission to the True Godhead and part of true Initiation; 'Mystical Vision' -
divine union with the Godhead with no form only energy present.
In 1964 Doreen Valiente
joined his group and was initiated into the Clan of Tubal-Cain.
however soon became disillusioned with Cochrane as she realized he was more
fiction than fact. Cochrane was
becoming increasingly more controlling of his group and openly before his wife
Jean; began an affair with one of the other women in his coven.
His wife left him and the other members of his coven grow more and more
disenchanted. His verbal attacks on
Gardnerian Witches began to increase, which irked Doreen, and when she noticed
his obsession with 'witches potions' (Cochrane by some accounts had become
fascinated with psychedelic drugs derived from herbs) she left.
Cochrane died on the 21st June 1966, on the eve of Summer Solstice in what would appear to be a ritual suicide. He had ingested belladonna leaves, more commonly known as Deadly Nightshade. Much speculation surrounds his death. Some believe it was an accident, others believe it was plain suicide. Still others, particularly his craft members believe that he appointed himself the “actual” male sacrifice, as is sometimes symbolically enacted at the height of the Summer Solstice.
Epitaph for a Witch
by Doreen Valiente
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek
Mythology) / Esbats &
Full Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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